TITLE: “HeartMath – Teaching Self-Regulation Skills to Children”
SPECIAL GUEST: Jeff Goetz
One of parents’ and educators’ main responsibilities is helping children and students learn how to govern themselves. Jeff Goetz, of the Institute of HeartMath, shares with Allen and our listeners how the HeartMath process is helping children learn how to regulate their behavior, manage emotions and thoughts, plan and organize activities, and sustain attention in daily certain tasks.
Because children learn much of what they know from their environments, adults play an enormous role in helping shape their character development through modeling, coaching and believing in each child’s potential. HeartMath offers a unique blend of neuroscience, practical strategies and self-regulation skills to help children of all ages further reach their potential.
ABOUT JEFF GOETZ
Jeff Goelitz is currently a program developer, senior trainer and education specialist with the nonprofit Institute of HeartMath (heartmath.org). He regularly consults with college and school professionals, therapists and parents to help improve classroom climate, child behavior and academic performance. In the last ten years, he has created or been a major contributor to numerous educational curricula and programs designed to improve social and emotional learning. Six years ago, he was the primary trainer in a federally-funded national test-taking demonstration project across the US. Last year, Goelitz helped create a pilot program to aid struggling adolescent readers in stress reduction while enhancing academic performance. He is the co-author of “The College De-Stress Handbook” and “Using the emWave Technology with ADHD Children.”
The Institute of HeartMath’s nearly two decades of researching stress, emotions, heart intelligence and other diverse areas related to human physiology and performance, including heart-brain interactions, cardiac coherence and test anxiety, has helped improve the lives of hundreds of thousands of people around the world. The IHM Research Center’s groundbreaking research of heart-rate variability and the power of positive emotions to improve health and transform negative behavior patterns has contributed important new information to science.
The Institute of HeartMath’s research, which is funded by contributions and grants, shows that physiological resiliency and behavioral flexibility are reflected on what scientists refer to as heart-rate variability (HRV), one of IHM’s primary areas of study. HRV, the beat-to-beat changes in heart rate, is at its optimum and most beneficial when a healthy degree of variation is present. This variation literally keeps us on our toes, much like the side-to-side motion of a tennis player awaiting a serve.
HeartMath’s HRV studies have led to the development and validation of highly effective techniques and technology to help people create more resiliency and flexibility and ultimately improve their mental, emotional and physical health.
Coherence is an optimal state in which the heart, mind and emotions are operating in-synch and balanced. Most people experience this mental, emotional and physical alignment in varying degrees. An individual deep in meditation, prayer or other spiritual practice, athletes in the zone, the student who has a lock on the material on test day: These are examples of individuals who are likely experiencing heightened levels of psychophysiological coherence.
HeartMath researchers have conducted numerous studies tracking people’s coherence levels by observing their heart-rhythm patterns. The research shows that the greater an individual’s level of coherence, the more efficient and harmonious the body’s cardiovascular, nervous, hormonal and immune systems function.
Heart-rhythm coherence training has been utilized in wide-ranging applications under the institute’s guidance, including as a coherence-building tool when coupled with intentionally generated positive emotions.
The study’s authors noted that of particular significance was finding “electrophysiological evidence that the heart is directly involved in the processing of information about a future emotional stimulus seconds before the body actually experiences the stimulus.”
The key research categories contained in the library are:
- Emotional physiology
- Heart-brain interactions
- Development and testing of positive emotion-focused tools, techniques, technology and programs
- Educational intervention studies
- Workplace intervention studies
- Treatment outcome studies in clinical populations
- Heart-rate variability and autonomic function
- Emotional energetics
- Global coherence
More recently, in the Proof of Concept Study: Heart-Brain Synchronization between Mother and Baby, preliminary findings showed that when a mother focused her attention on her baby, “she became more sensitive to the subtle electromagnetic signals generated by the infant’s heart.”
The 1999 HeartMath study, The Role of Physiological Coherence in the Detection and Measurement of Cardiac Energy Exchange Between People, found: “When two people are at a conversational distance, the electromagnetic signal generated by one person’s heart can influence the other person’s brain rhythms.”